31 Days of Thankfulness (Days 1-6)

It seems almost unbelievable that

simply sowing seeds of thankfulness

could transform your life,

producing abundant joy, peace, and love —

but scriptures and studies tell us it is true.

Do you want to find out for yourself?

Beginning tomorrow we have

31 days leading up to Thanksgiving day.

So I challenge you to join us.

I’ll have a simple track for those whose time is short but who

want to be with us on this journey.

And I’ll have some going deeper assignments

for those who long to do that.

Either way, you will experience beautiful fruit

and develop a habit of gratitude,

grooming a good path for your feet by Thanksgiving Day.

Many of you have done this kind of thing before, some inspired by Ann Voskamp’s “One Thousand Gifts.”

When she began her simple habit of writing down thanks,

she was amazed at the transformation in her heart.

A month in, her friends were noticing, telling her:

“You’ve changed.”

And so will we.

Neurology has discovered something happens to a person’s brain who has developed a habit of gratitude.

Jan Silvious explains why in this short clip.

 

And it will be such fun to do it together.

Every time you give thanks, it is a pinpoint of light.

Together we can make such beauty,

penetrating the darkness of our souls and worlds,

for the darkness can never stop the light from coming through.

Sunday: Get Ready, Get Set

  1. Will you join us? If so, why?
  2. Have you done anything like this in the past? If so, what, and how did it impact you?
  3. Ask God here to help you stay the course and to transform your heart.
  4. How did God meet you on this Sabbath day?

Monday: Day 1. Don’t Let His Mercies Fade From Your Heart

Repeatedly in Scripture God asks us to forget not what He has done for us. This will be our theme this week, for the Lord  not only gives us insight as to why we should remember, but also shows us what things are particularly helpful to remember.

Deut: 4:9 Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. 

5. Meditate on Deuteronomy 4:10 and articulate the main command.

6. With this same verse, list several ways we can keep from forgetting what God has done for us.

7. Telling our children what God has done for us helps us to not forget as well. Write down one thing God showed up magnificently in your life that you could tell your children or the next generation.

Going Deeper: Christmas is just two months away, so you might consider making a photo book of remembrances of God at work in your life to give to your children or grandchildren. I was inspired to make books for some of my grandchildren by my friend Twila who wrote the story of her grandson Henry’s miraculous birth. The doctors kept telling his mother Elizabeth she had miscarried and they needed to do a D & C. The Spirit told her not to do it. And beautiful Henry was rescued. Here are a couple of pictures from our books.

The Cover of Twila’s Shurrterfly Book for Henry

Page 1 of my book for grand-daughter Sadie

Page 1 of my book for grand-daughter Miabelle

 

8. If you do this, we’d love to hear about your plan!

 

 

Tuesday: Day 2: Remember The Day When You Stood Before the Lord at Horeb

10 Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, when he said to me, “Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.” (Deut. 4:10)

In our women’s Bible study we were contemplating ways we could suffer for Christ besides persecution. One woman said that when we receive the discipline of the Lord, we are suffering for Christ. I think that is true, for it is painful to receive criticism, it causes us to suffer, but if we repent, then our lives glorify the Lord, for we are turning from our idols (idolatry is always the sin beneath the sin) to the Living God. God disciplines us to change us, and He does not want us to forget what we learned, lest we return to those destructive ways.

When God brought the Israelites before Him at Horeb, He had some stern things to say to them, for they had forgotten His great deeds, turned to idols, and become stiff-necked. Let’s consider what happened before that day of a stern rebuke at Horeb. For these were things that God did for them that they let fade from their memory.

Parted Seas

Manna from Heaven

9. Name two big ways God showed His power and care for you that you do not want to let fade from your memory.

10. We are created to worship, so if we don’t worship God, we will worship something.

A. To what did the Israelites turn to when Moses was too long on the mountain? (Exodus 32)

B. When we forget to give thanks to God for what He has done in our lives, why is it we are then prone to idolatry?

11. Read Exodus 33:1-6

      A. How did God express His anger toward the people in Exodus 33:1-3?

      B. St John of the Cross put it this way: Our God is a shy lover. When He sees us in the arms of another, He backs up.

          Comments?

C. How did the people respond to God’s rebuke in Exodus 33:4-6?

12. What do you learn from these passages on why it is important to train ourselves to remember and be grateful to God?

13. Share a time when you repented as a result of the Lord’s discipline — and explain why it is important you remember times when He disciplined you.

 

Wednesday: Day 3: How To Overcome Grumbling

14. Read Exodus 16:1-3

      What were the Israelites grumbling about and what were they forgetting?

15. Read Exodus 16:4-8

A. What did God tell Moses He was going to do?

B. What reason do you think God had for providing manna for so many years? 

C. What did Moses tell the people in verse 8 and how could you apply this?

     16. Read Ephesians 4:28-29 

               A. What is the thief to stop doing, and with what is he to replace that behavior?

          B. What is the bad-mouthed person to stop doing, and with what is he to replace that behavior?

 

Thursday: Day 4: Watch and Reflect

 

 

17. What stood out to you from the above?

18. Name three simple things can you be grateful for right now.

Friday: Day 5: Practicing Gratitude

Challenge:Today, every time you start to complain, criticize, or grumble, replace that with gratitude. Also, from the moment you wake up to the moment you close your eyes for the night, continually give thanks to God for all the ways He sustains you, blesses you, and give you the fruit of His Spirit. Singing may help. Check in at mid-day and before bed and report.

19. Midday report — how have you done with practicing gratitude?

20. Evening report — how have you done with practicing gratitude?

Saturday: Day 6:

21. Do you feel you have begun to make a gratitude path for your feet? If so, share something about it.

 

COMMENTS (168) Post a New Comment ↓
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14. Read Exodus 16:1-3   What were the Israelites grumbling about and what were they forgetting?

 

They were complaining about not having food, of starving out in the wilderness. They forgot the reality of their situation in Egypt so that they “fondly” remembered eating all the meat and bread they wanted in Egypt (which I can’t believe was really true). They forgot how miserable and oppressed they were.

 

15.Read Exodus 16:4-8

 

A. What did God tell Moses He was going to do?

 

Rain down food from heaven.

 

B. What reason do you think God had for providing manna for so many years?

 

Perhaps to teach the Israelites to trust and depend on Him for their daily bread. They seemed to need it pounded into their heads every day that it was God who delivered them from the Egyptians, that He cared about them, and that He would provide for them.

 

C. What did Moses tell the people in verse 8 and how could you apply this?

 

Moses told the people that God would give them meat to eat in the evening and bread to eat in the morning. Just as sunrise and sunset are dependable, so is God to provide for each day’s needs. Moses also told them that their complaints were not against Aaron and Moses, but really they were against God. So when I complain, who I’m really grumbling against is God. Conviction: I can complain about something, like having to take my time to help someone when I feel I don’t have the time, the demands it makes on my time….what if that is one of those good works that God prepared in advance for me to do, and I’m griping about having to do it?

 

 

 

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16. Read Ephesians 4:28-29

 

A. What is the thief to stop doing, and with what is he to replace that behavior?

 

The thief is to stop stealing and to replace that behavior with “good hard work”, and then to give generously to those in need.

 

B. What is the bad-mouthed person to stop doing, and with what is he to replace that behavior?

 

He is to stop using foul and abusive language, and replace those words with ones that are good, helpful, and an encouragement to all who hear them.

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3 things I am grateful for right now:

Waking up healthy

A wonderful church in Georgia who will film the video for The Jesus Who Surprises

The women on this blog

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    Love you Dee!

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      And I love you, Laura!

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15. What stood out to you from the above?
EVERYTHING about this video brought a smile to my face.
a. The response of gratitude
b. The unique gift of today. As if it was your first and last day.
c. Don’t just merely look; Eyes that can open for things for pure enjoyment
d. Nuances of weather good weather vs bad this day is unique it will never come again
e. Open your eyes and look at the faces, there is an incredible story behind their faces- a story one can never fathom; story of their ancestors
f. Gratitude is a life giving water if you only would open  your heart
g. Gifts civilization has given to us electricity, water
h. Let others be encouraged by your smile, touch, just by your presence.
i. Let gratefulness flow into others.
j. Then it would really be a good day.
16. Name three simple things can you be grateful for right now.
Bananas natural source of potassium which I am lacking in according to my lab
Mobility
Eyes to see
I remembered one of my older friends who passed away several years ago. I often thought she was eccentric when she would say things, I am thankful to be able to get out of bed, to ne able to hear, see and smell. Eva had a grateful heart.

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Thursday 

17.  What stood out to me from the video was the beautiful scenery and all the sweet faces.  It made me realize all the wonderful things we can be grateful for if we’re willing to lift our heads and hearts, look around and be willing to give of ourselves with just a smile or a touch.  I remember photographing a sunset on the beach and moment by moment the sky was changing and showing off.  I was rapidly taking picture after picture and when I looked up all the people that were around me had left.  I had a feeling of disappointment for them because they had missed the most beautiful part!  Through this video and that experience I’m reminded to slow down and really look/see things through the lens of gratitude.

18.  Three simple things I’m grateful for right now are…

1. My husband

2.  My health

3.  A place to live

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14. Read Exodus 16:1-3 
      What were the Israelites grumbling about and what were they forgetting?
 

They were grumbling about being hungry and forgetting how they were fed back in Egypt, but were also enslaved.

 
15. Read Exodus 16:4-8
A. What did God tell Moses He was going to do?  
 

He was going to rain manna from heaven for the people to eat. He was going to test the people.

 
B. What reason do you think God had for providing manna for so many years? 
 

So so the people couldn’t really complain….they did have food it just wasn’t exactly what they wanted.

 
C. What did Moses tell the people in verse 8 and how could you apply this?
 

He told them their grumbling was directed to God, not Moses and Aaron.

 

Take up my troubles with God, not those around me.

 

 

 

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16. Read Ephesians 4:28-29 
               A. What is the thief to stop doing, and with what is he to replace that behavior?
 
Stop stealing and get a job! 
 
          B. What is the bad-mouthed person to stop doing, and with what is he to replace that behavior?
 

Stop saying bad things and replace them with good things to give grace to people.

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15. I enjoyed hearing the voice of the narrator because it was the voice of experience. Ditto everything Bing listed.

16. Three simple things I am grateful for:

1. Teenage male relatives who seek my company

2. A toddler’s smile

3. A car radio

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    Oh yes!!  A toddlers smile!!

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Just an update on our class’s thankfulness sheet. We are 4 days down-right now-it is mostly, my family, food, friends, pets. :-) We will see how the the rest of the 31 days go. Last night we did a similar thing with our church’s kids but on a clip board. We had a blast. I left instructions with the oldest of each family’s group to remind everybody t o write down on their board what they are thankful for each day. A 5 year old said, “I am thankful for God.” Aawww….

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    Love this report!

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I’m jumping in here on my 1 day of! I’ve been writing down things I’m grateful for each day in a little red book  :)

The video on gratefulness brought tears to my eyes…so beautiful & so true & so stirring! Yes Lord open my eyes to see with wonder all You have given me & help me to cherish this day…TODAY.

3 things right now I’m grateful for: my family; the glow of a candle burning in my family room; the Peace of the Lord present here.

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17. What stood out to you from the above? 
A poem clipping left by my mom:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/zoqle21w26pj88p/IMG_0235.JPG?dl=0

 
18. Name three simple things can you be grateful for right now.
 

Daylight savings time coming up! Yay fall back to extra sleep!

 

Good friends.

 

Alone time.

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    Love the poem by your Mother!

    I know something good about you… your posts are an encouragement to me, seeing your desire in wanting to know Him more!

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      ♥️

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    Sweet poem, Laura. How is school and teaching?

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The video got me thinking about how each day is unique and different. I don’t think I had thought of that before. What an amazing God to take the time to make each day special by making it unique! I can also carry this to people, each one so different and unique!

I am grateful for the uniqueness of every day.  I am grateful for hearing the birds singing all around me on my walk this morning. I am grateful for Dee and these studies – such a blessing and challenge to grow more like Christ.

 

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    So good to have you here Tanya!

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3 things I am grateful for now.

– Glad to see my youngest son up so early this morning

– Thankful I woke up in minimal pain

– Glad to get to meet with Jesus this morning

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18. Name three simple things you can be grateful for right now.

 

My son who lives in Houston is home for the weekend. I am thankful for a new direct flight from Houston to Akron that gets him home in 3 hours! I am thankful for apples, fresh from the orchards, in the Fall (and caramel dip). There are so many different varieties!

 

Here it is: the Friday challenge! I picked up Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts, and read the first chapter this morning. I am hoping reading through it will help me as we journey together, giving thanks. I find that so much of my grumbling begins in my mind….muttering to myself about my husband’s dirty Kleenex he left lying on the nightstand or the clothes on the floor. A difficult family member who is a bit self-focused on their problems and so can be hard to be around – I go over and over in my mind about how they only talk about themselves and their troubles….oh, I need a lot of help.

 

One interesting thing I read in Ann’s book this morning was about the manna. She said the name manna means, “what is it?” It was a mystery that they ate, that they accepted from God.

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A beginner for my Friday list: a big enough tab to pull instead of the little flimsy ones. After my thumb surgery, I have been finding it hard to open containers and cans. This morning, I opened a can that had one of those pop-up tabs. And I was reminded to give thanks for it and that I still have enough strength to pull it up and get the can opened. Furthermore, my husband wasn’t home to help (lol) me. Thank you, Lord. :-)

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First of all I would like to say because I have been purposefully expressing gratitude my thoughts don’t all seem to running on the same track. Instead of concentrating on faults of my unjust family members I’m looking for positive attributes within them. Also this morning while Daddy is away at a dr appt I was able to have a good conversation with my stepmom. As a family we all struggle with her having  dementia and she told me she appreciated the things I said. I know my heart is being transformed because there was a time I didn’t even want to be around her.

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    Tammy, this is WONDERFUL!

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18)  Having to get to the dreaded mammogram done, & having a sweet, most friendly tech ever—what I had dreaded most all day turned into an– almost– ‘fun’ time!

A dear friend just stopping by to share things on her heart–and in God’s perfect timing, had I been a few minutes later getting home would have missed her & missed the blessing of her visit.

My Bible, God’s Word to me!  What on earth would I ever do without it…

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Oh my! I just popped in for the first time in ages — because I am tired of putting my life on hold until I move (cuz that process is going SO slowly).  I think I can catch up with the short version and maybe even keep up when I don’t have decent internet access.  Looking forward to being here again :)

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    Glad to see you back Renee. I don’t talk about my weird experiences either.

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    So happy to “see”’you Renee!

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    SOGLAD TO SEE OUR RENEE!

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5. Meditate on Deuteronomy 4:10 and articulate the main command.
Remember what God has done and tell others, including the next generation.
6. With this same verse, list several ways we can keep from forgetting what God has done for us.
-Teaching others –more than once — is the most effective way for me to remember something.

-Making an effort to recall, meditating, writing it down, talking with God about it, continuing to apply what I’ve learned/am learning

7. Telling our children what God has done for us helps us to not forget as well. Write down one thing God showed up magnificently in your life that you could tell your children or the next generation.

I’m sure there are a gazillion things that I may need to work to remember.  Lately, I’ve been thinking about one bizarre thing, and it’s predominant enough in my brain that I’m not switching gears to think of the other things (and I haven’t forgotten “bizarre” obviously supernatural events that relatives have shared so MAYBE this is something I would pass on to future generations??):  Years ago, when I was stopped at a downtown stoplight, a car was speeding toward me & about 20 feet away.  I still can see the wild-eyes and straggly hair of the driver.  Suddenly, the other car was picked up, moved to the other side of the street, and flattened a street sign.  A friend and I were young enough, on our way to a movie and didn’t want to be late — so we didn’t report it until after the movie (ugh — and then it was too late to report!).     I’ve always been puzzled by this event but also have ALWAYS been aware that God spared my life for a reason.  I rarely talk about this because it seems so weird, but I also remember hearing years before that when relatives shared that God moved the car they were driving when they were about to be squished between two semis on a California freeway.

ok, now that I wrote that other things are starting to seep back into my brain.  Also, I have been going through stacks of papers — and seeing God’s faithfulness as I put stuff in the recycle pile.  Writing down those quick realizations would help me remember.

 

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    Renee, welcome back! I so miss you! That is not WEIRD! I had a similar experience awhile back. I was too engrossed thinking about something I drove through a red light! Midway through the middle of the 4 way street, I saw at the corner of my eye, 2 guys peering through their car window looking ridiculously at me (and probably swearing by then lol). That was when I realized they had the right of way and I just went through a red light! Good thing they saw me coming. Thank God for sparing all three of us.

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Friday

19.  Midday report of practicing gratitude…instead of grumbling about paying bills, I’m thankful for God’s provision of husbands job, his health – making it possible to pay them!

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Here’s my midday report:

I’ve been wrestling with the kingdom of darkness this week and I’m grateful for God’s Spirit granting me discernment in a certain situation during my devotional time this morning. Discouragement has been knocking on my door but I refuse to acknowledge it’s there.

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19. Midday Report: taking out the trash this morning, I was thankful for the mild, morning air. There’s something about the feel and smell of the air first thing in the morning. I was thankful to hear birds chirping; their noise makes me feel like there’s someone around. Spending time and going out for lunch with my son, daughter and dad. Lots of good gifts this day.

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17. Midday report — how have you done with practicing gratitude?
Disciplining myself to consciously be aware of my grumbling was a challenge!
Re-wiring my natural tendencies was a task but the gift of peace and gratitude for the practice of gratitude was worth it.
The colder weather is making my joints ache. Thankful I can feel pain and that I can do something about it.
A text from a student whom I have invested a lot of time in made me angry for her seemingly ungrateful attitude. Then when I thank God that she and I are learning lessons of patience, I smiled. And the wisdom to balance love and keeping high expectations came upon me. Yes, that is what she needs right now.
Laundry-yuk! Then I am thankful for clothes and the warmth it provides. And I have a washing machine.

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I spent 3 hours catching up with reading and journaling this morning. Overnight guests and touring took all of my time. I am so thankful for these 2 dear friends who traveled quite a distance to visit. They made me feel very thankful and joyful.

I reallyy was grateful for all of the strengthening messages thatvI have been reading along with God’s words. I feel a load being lightened as I read and meditate and journal. Gratitude makes life better

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    Madelyn — so good “Gratitude makes life better.”

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Evening Gratitude Report

I must confess it’s been a difficult week for me so I’m very grateful it’s Friday evening.

19. Yes I do believe I have begun to make a gratitude path. Expressing gratitude has shifted my focus off of me and more on God. I’m hearing Him more clearly whenHe speaks to me through his word.

 

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    Tammy, hugs to you.

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Evening report

Home alone until 8 or so tonight-. I love the quiet and the laid back day just puttering around the house doing chores and putting things away.

I was trying to decide whether to go to the store or not and looked over my list if I can wait till tomorrow as the stores would be a zoo (Friday stampede). I needed to write a sympathy card  to take to a funeral tomorrow. Thought about making one and then found one I have bought recently and have forgotten about! Perfect! No store run tonight.

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9. Name two big ways God showed His power and care for you that you do not want to let fade from your memory.   1) his faithfulness during long seasons of depression    2) his provision of friends when I’ve moved to new places
10. We are created to worship, so if we don’t worship God, we will worship something.
A. To what did the Israelites turn to when Moses was too long on the mountain? (Exodus 32)
golden calf — they wanted Aaron to make gods for them
B. When we forget to give thanks to God for what He has done in our lives, why is it we are then prone to idolatry?  because we quickly forget God and what he has done for us — and want to see Him working RIGHT NOW.
11. Read Exodus 33:1-6
      A. How did God express His anger toward the people in Exodus 33:1-3?  He said he wasn’t going to go with them
      B. St John of the Cross put it this way: Our God is a shy lover. When He sees us in the arms of another, He backs up.
          Comments?   Well, that’s scary!  It makes sense when people do that — shows me that we can/do grieve him.
C. How did the people respond to God’s rebuke in Exodus 33:4-6?  They mourned and then they took off their ornaments because God told them to.  (Now I have to go back & see what others wrote because I’m not sure I understand this ornament thing — except that they aren’t celebrating/are expressing their mourning)
 

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Friday

20.  Evening report of gratitude…thankful for a safe drive in the pouring rain to have dinner with our son and daughter-in-law.  They have had us over for dinner once a week since being out of our house…very thankful for them!!

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-Thankful for my husband’s smile

-Grateful for Eugene Peterson’s life-especially his humility- has encouraged me. Fanned this flame of longing inside when I heard he said “Let’s go” right before he went fully into Jesus presence.

-Grateful we are doing Dee’s study He Calls in January-means I get to experience more of  Him again with other women.

 

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    I loved that “Let’s go!” too.

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Saturday: Day 6:
19. Do you feel you have begun to make a gratitude path for your feet? If so, share something about it.
Yes, definitely. We are getting ready to go to my husband’s aunt’s funeral this morning. He is playing the piano for the service. He asked if he could practice this early (free concert how can I say no? J ). The quiet of the morning and the sweetness of the songs made my heart swell. In the midst of loss, I can remember the goodness of God “…with each passing moment”.
Day by the day
And with each passing moment
Strength I find to meet my trials here
Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment
I’ve no cause for weary or for fear.
He whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives each day to Him what He deems best
Lovingly it’s part of pain and pleasure
 Mingling toil with peace and rest.

Every day the Lord Himself is near me,
With a special mercy for each hour;
All my cares He fain would bear and cheer me,
He whose name is Counselor and Pow’r.
The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on Himself He laid;
“As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,”
This the pledge to me He made.

Help me then, in every tribulation,So to trust Thy promises, O Lord,That I lose not faith’s sweet consolation,Offered me within Thy holy Word.Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,E’er to take, as from a father’s hand,One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,Till with Christ the Lord I stand.

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    Oh, this hymn is so rich…may you have a blessed day filled with sweet memories of your aunt…so sorry for your loss.😘

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      Thanks, Sharon. Our Aunt MaryEtta was a kind and loving person. She always showed interest in me and my family.

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    Bing, I can almost feel my heart swell with yours….In the midst of loss, I can remember the goodness of God. So sorry for your loss. I hope the service was rich and meaningful for all who were there.

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      Susan, thanks. The service was of Lutheran. I love the verses the pastor used. I have never heard it used for a funeral before.
      “ Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years. 24 Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.” Genesis 5:23-24
      Altogether, Mary Etta lived a total of 81 years. Mary Etta walked faithfully with God; then she was no more because God took her away.
      I almost burst into tears when the pastor said that. It was as much of a blessing to me as it was for her only daughter to hear those words. Death has no sting! Thanks be to God!

        Bing thank you for sharing the scripture from Mary Etta’s funeral service. My maternal great grandmother’s name was Etta. I once attended a funeral where the pastor commented b the deceased knew a lot about God because of all the bible studies she had participated in. I purposed in my heart at that very moment that at my funeral it could be said that I KNOW GOD. Knowing ABOUT God and KNOWING God are two totally different paths to walk.

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    Lovely, Bing.

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Yes, a path of gratitude is a healthy & happy way to go thro life. Trying to write something every day in my little red book :)   Puts my focus on the Lord & His faithfulness. He will never leave us!

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Saturday

21.  Yes, I do feel I have made a gratitude path for my feet.  Starting my day with thanksgiving…so much to be thankful for!  Being intentional in looking for things my great God has done for me, all He has given throughout the day and ending my day with a prayer of thanksgiving.

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21. Do you feel you have begun to make a gratitude path for your feet? If so, share something about it.

 

I can’t believe I’ve had Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts, on my shelf for a few years now but have never read it. I read chapter 2 this morning. One thing resonated with me: I get to. Today, as I went out to the store in the chilly, drizzling rain, I thought, I get to (do this). As I was washing my dishes, again, I get to. I was moved by her describing how she observed a woman reading a book entitled 1000 Places to Visit Before You Die, and she thought, is that it? And she wondered, can’t I find joy right here where I am? I feel as if I’m wrestling right along with Ann as she ponders finding joy in the folding of laundry and stirring the soup on the stove. But this thought of I get to is sticking with me. And also, grace, thanksgiving, joy. What are the good gifts, grace, I’ve been given? Am I thankful for them? The result will be more joy.

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    Susan — you and Ann are kindred souls.

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